With all of the primary madness and issues being hotly debated in our country, it is hard to escape a political conversation with most people you interact with these days. This can be good and it can be very, very bad. I’ve always thought there was value in debate, and to challenging someone’s ideas and ideals with your own, backing it up with facts and figures, or, just for fun. However, I feel that certain people unfortunately have to be avoided when discussing political and ideological beliefs, because they are unrelenting and not flexible at all in their opinions. It’s even more unfortunate when these people are family.
I often debate with my boyfriend, and even though a few times we have become angry with each other when differing strongly on some issues, we move past it and we don’t call each other names and we’re not entirely opposed to the other person’s point of view. But this doesn’t always follow so clearly with extended family….
Last week, I received a mass forward from an aunt, that spoke out against Barack Obama, saying he was Muslim and had terrorist connections and this and that. My mom received it too. Keep in mind that my parents and I are the only liberals in our entire family. They all live in southern Louisiana and we left there in 1990 to move north. You can see how things might have changed us over the years. My mom and I were seriously irritated with the email. One because it was narrow-minded, and two, because my family knows very well that we are Democrats. Three, because we’ve repeatedly asked not to be sent junk forwards in the first place. But that’s a different matter.
A few times in the past several years, my mom and I attempted to talk politics with her family, which was a horrible idea in execution. We were basically called atheists because we believe homosexuality is okay, and because we support a woman’s right to choose. In general, we sucked because we were progressive thinkers, and they were all-knowing because the Bible said so.
I am not saying that the religious right is wrong, or that I dislike people with conservative opinions. I just think that there needs to be some room for understanding and respect in these types of conversations. A debate is one thing, outright name-calling and ex-communication, if you will, is another.
Are there people you can’t talk about politics with?